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and the NEW
Yep, agree on Terry.

Not sure about Silva, he has fantastic technical ability, but he does not run full pace at defenders, nearly a requirement in England.

Like I said before, I think Berbatov is on his way to United.

Madrid, yep, everyone hates them! The season is nearly underway boys, not like to wait now! First week will be very interesting, even a draw would be a HUGE disappointment for the big 4!
Few things to look out for as the new season gets closer and closer.

In La Liga, I expect Real to get off to a slow start. Keep in mind that the core of players there are older now and more injury prone. I think Real's attack will be key because their defense is a weak link. Cannavaro is old and he cannot anchor the lines the way he used to, and Ramos often over pursues. Pepe is going to have to be Super Man and Batman rolled into 1 because when Madrid face those teams that have ability to counter attack quickly(Valencia, Sevilla, Villareal, Getafe, Espanyol, and yes Barcelona), thats when they'll face big problems. Realistically speaking, Raul cannot have another season like last year, and Van Nistlerooy has become more and more brittle by the year. If injury occurs to any of the likes of Sneijder, Van Der Vaart, Robinho, or Pepe, Real are in big trouble. I think they lack depth in defense. They have too many attackers I feel. I do however, like Ruben De La Red. Tremendous young midfielder.

Again, Real are rightful favorites, but the race will be tighter this season. I think Barcelona are the most likely candidate to take the title from Real, especially if Hleb settles down quickly and provides a bit of playmaking like he's expected to. Villareal have done nothing but get better seemingly, but they're still inconsistent. They'll look great beating a top team one week, and then the next week they'll get embarassed by a midtable team. They're still a bit of a mystery to me. Racing Santander are another with lots of talent, though it will be interesting to see how they do now that Marcelino is not their coach anymore. Getafe are a strong outfit too and they're spoilers.

2 weeks left in transfer window. Tottenham have been busy, and Barcelona as well. Those 2 have been making some big moves and lets not forget AC Milan. Most of the big clubs have stayed the same for the most part. What we have seen are lots managerial changes. Barcelona, Valencia, Chelsea, Inter, and a few others have all changed managers. What I'm wondering is whom will make that next big move.

and the NEW
Yeh, the end of the transfer window is generally FRANTIC!!!!!!!

I actually agree on Madrid PR. I think they will come out of the gates slow. Sneijder will be a HUGE loss and I just can't see VDV stepping into that position and doing the same job instantly. Will take him at least several weeks to adjust.

Injuries could no doubt be the deciding factor in the race. If Messi goes down, Barca are in HUGE trouble. Same as as you say, Robinho, Pepe or even Casillas for Madrid. I'm not so sure Casillas can have as good season this one as he did last, where he was simply a goal keeping phenomenon!

My hopes for Barca are actually increasing, I hope I am not simply being fooled by pre season. But Hleb does look good and I like a few of the other guys Pep has bought into the squad. They sure seem to be gelling. Something which has now been lacking for the last couple years. But then again, the quality of opposition they are playing against are far from La Liga quality.

I'm getting pumped now!!!!!!!
Well the season is off and underway.

Arsenal looked ok. Nothing more IMO. Adebayor played like a stupid clown. Horrible touch, terrible passing, and no finishing accuracy. And what pisses me off is after he makes a bad pass, you see him blaming people for his mistake. He was booed heavily by the Emirates faithful. Nasri had an excellent performance, however. He was played on the left side as a fake winger. He showed confidence, and he reminded me of Riquelme with some of his passes. He showed alot of pace, and he took his goal really well. It looks like he's the replacement for Hleb. RVP was wasteful. Looked tired to me and didn't play with any real confidence. Bendtner was terrible. Walcott was shit too. Eboue was played as a DM and he did good. Overall, the Arsenal defense, lead by Gallas, seemed to hold together well. The squad is depleted. Lots of injuries there. They're definitely missing Fabregas. Hopefully things pick up for them.

Liverpool weren't too convincing, but goodness, what a strike from Torres!!... Torres=CRACK... Perfectly placed slow strike. Overall, it was a boring game in the 1st half. The second half picked up on the action. Robbie Keane had some moments where he looked dangerous but its clear that the partnership with Torres is still a work in progress, not quite having the understanding that Torres has with Villa for Spain. Not quite yet. But I can see them getting there. Xabi Alonso nearly scored a half way kick after catching the goalkeeper way off his line. Benayoun was dangerous and put through some good balls, particularly one to Gerrard that should have resulted in a goal. Liverpool's problem is that they're too direct at times, which is traditional in the EPL. But the attack was too predictable. Definitely gotta work on some things on the training ground thats for sure. Shaky moments from the defense too, particularly Arbeloa but the ship righted itself towards the end of the match.

Tottenham got beat I hear. Watching the highlights, they look very fun to watch. But maybe we are all expecting too much from Dos Santos. Still too young to really develop into a top player. I definitely think it'll take Spurs some time to develop into a top flight team. Hopefully they can get Arshavin.

Saw the Argentina vs Holland match. Of course Messi was the best player, combining well with Riquelme on several occasions to make some dangerous looking plays. Aguero and Di Maria both came close to breaking the dead lock, but it had to be Messi who made no mistake on his 2nd go around, calmly slotting a shot home. Aguero was kind of wasteful, blowing a one on one, and missing an open header but he still looked like a great player out there. Messi's pass to set up the winning goal by Di Maria was absolutely MAJESTIC... BEAUTIFUL... Just amazing stuff. Bakkal and Babel were the only true standouts from the Dutch team for me.

Its now time for the big one, pitting Brazil vs Argentina. This will be an awesome encounter.

Spanish Super Cup tomorrow with Real Madrid and Valencia. I think it'll be a good one.
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Unfortunately, we barely get to see any of the Olympics here unless it's Australia playing. Everything else is filtered! So annoying!!!!!!!! How bout that 100m mens sprinting final though!!! FUKC ME! How many years until they break 9 seconds!!!!!!!!!!!!! I remember when sub 10 was good, a few more years and sub 9.50s will be the equivelent.

Though I hear it is Argentina Vs Brazil, what an encounter!

Saw Arsenal, too many injuries, again, no depth. They looked HORRIBLE IMHO. No direction to their attack, just a bunch of individuals. They miss Fabregas TERRIBLY. He will be back though next week I believe.

Saw Tottenham V Middlesbrough, like I expected, Middlesbrough are going to be trouble this season. Downing is a very good player and Alvez definately gets a lot of attention by the defence. Tottenham looked ordinary considering what is expected of them. Dos Santos didn't play too badly actually, I think he may have a good season if he keeps up as a regular starter. His pace was evident without a doubt. He was blitzing past some of the Prem players.

Oh, a quick tip for the fantasy league. You want to make sure you have guys on your team who are going to play, otherwise your subs will have to come on. So if you have Chelsea or United midfielders, make sure they are regular starters or your better off having a guy from a lesser team who is the standout. You also have to look at the scoring, so there are certain points for goals, assists, clean sheets, man of the match, 2nd and 3rd best players on the pitch etc and as such a guy like Mascherano probably won't get many points despite a lot of short passes and tackles. It's important to have guys who take free kicks and corners, as they will rack up goals and assists a lot easier throughout the season (hence guys like Bentley, Arteta etc will usually score decently).
and the NEW
Yeh, I have heard they are on, but what times? I caught only Australia V Argentina. All I see are gymnastics, rowing, cycling, swimming, diving, aquestrian, some bball and track and field.

Soccer, boxing etc are next to non-existent! sad.gif

Unless of course Australia are competing in them, then they will flash on and straight off as soon as the Aussie has lost.
Saw Chelsea and they looked GREAT... Deco was amazing of course, combining well with Lampard in the midfield. Attack looks great and defense rock solid. 4-0 was the final score, with Deco capping off his motm performance with a goal in the 87th minute. They got off to a slow start last year so its key that they got off this year to a flying start. What a great buy Deco appears for them so far. Past his prime, yeah right.l

ATN, the boxing has been HORRIBLE. I've honestly stopped watching it. The scoring has just been absolutely TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE... Just disgusting honestly. Always reminds me of why I hate amateur boxing. The scoring and the fighters are just that, AMATEURS.. Horrible technique. They punch like Ricardo Mayorga!!.. I've given up on watching it. They don't play it that much down here, though.

They play alot of swimming, track and field, basketball, and volleyball down here, with occasional showings of soccer, boxing and football/soccer. Those are the the sports that get major play down here.
A disappointing start especially as Chelsea purred like a stylish well oiled machine in their match. Rooney isn't 100%, Tevez was away due to a family bereavement, Saha is still injured and young Campbell, despite a fairly good game, just can't be expected to solve the obvious striking problem we have. Ferguson remains coy about whether or not he'll make another signing but to me and everybody else it is blatantly clear that we need somebody. Our next 3 games, all away could very well see us slip a long way behind at such an early stage. We have Portsmouth, Chelsea and Liverpool, the latter two being absolutely crucial to our league defence. Ronaldo is out for at least another month and who knows where his head will be when he returns to the side. Giggs, Carrick and even Campbell had to go off injured today and Van der Sar is squarely to blame for Newcastles goal. There quite simply would have been no corner for Martins to score from if Edwin had caught the first ball into the box instead of punching it. Rafael was an inch or two away from winning us a penalty in injury time but really there wasn't anything positive to take from the game. Can't wait for Anderson to return from the Olympics, Nani to serve his remaining one game suspension and Hargreaves to get fit again. Above all else I can't wait to sign a striker.
Saw United's match and here's how I feel.

Obviously a disappointing result consider its the season opener at Old Trafford against Newcastle, who despite showing some improvement, really aren't quite at that level. I like United overall, but I cannot stand watching Brown get away with his constant roughhouse play. OMG it pisses me off because its just so blatant. But that aside, Vidic and Ferdinand really defended well. The only real letdown was of course the goal by Martins off the corner kick but I like how United responded in kind minutes later with a goal of their own(Forgot who scored it, I think it was Fletcher). Scholes, however could have won the game for United because I thought in the last minutes he had a PERFECT opportunity to thread Rooney right through Newcastle defense but I guess a tired mind and tired eyes can't see everything. Rooney overall had a decent game. He didn't look himself thats for sure. He's much faster than what he showed tonight. Overall, United were clearly the better team. They played Newcastle off the park for most of the match and had the clearer shots on goal. But all things considered, United much like Arsenal at the moment are an injured squad with lots of their better players down with injury. I think Giggs was pulled off to because he was struggling with something. On Newcastle's side, Gutierrez gave you guys hell, along with Martins, consistently looking dangerous on goal.

Damn, Portsmouth, Chelsea, and Liverpool all away one after another???... ohmy.gif GOD DAMN!!!... Somebody must not want you guys to three peat because thats a tough run if there ever was one. WOW...

Well, ATN and MAXY you guys will be happy to know that Valencia absolutely EMBARASSED Real Madrid in the 1st leg of the Spanish Super Cup. The 3-2 score did not reflect the whole story of the match. Not even close. In the 1st half, Valencia hit everything but the back of the net. It very easily could have been 3-1 in the 1st half in favor of Valencia, but whatever. Valencia are a NEW TEAM... NO JOKE... This is a totally different team. This is not the same team of even the past 2 years. These guys are actually playing ATTACKING FOOTBALL... Lots of quick short passing, lots of runs made down the flanks, quick counterattacks, and the backs pushing up. The Real Madrid defense was stretched all night with Silva, Villa, and Mata just consistently penetrating and causing havoc. Casillas had a good day overall, making some INCREDIBLE saves, otherwise it could have been embrassing. The backs pushing up may have cost us to concede those 2 goals but it was still entertaining.. I love what Emery has done with this team. He has us playing relentless attacking fluid football. The defense needs work, but damn, our attack is vicious and among the very best in La Liga. Real Madrid have SERIOUS problems in defence. Sergio Ramos and Pepe were getting TORCHED... We could have scored 5-6 goals at least on them. The 2nd goal we conceded was the result of a suspect backline and the fact that Valencia at times did attack much more than it was convinient for them. The goal scorers were Mata, Villa, and Vicente. Ruud scored the 2 goals for Real. Raul was nowhere to be found. Van Der Vaart had a good game. He was dangerous throughout, and his free kicks were a thing of beauty. No idea how some of those didn't result in a Real Madrid player getting on the end of them to convert into goals. Miguel is a new man. This guy has been reborn, like Deco sort of. He is making lethal runs with the ball, linking the play, hustling for loose balls, and he basically OWNED Robinho. Villa and Silva were the usual selves, Vicente looked GREAT(So sad he's so injury prone cray.gif ), and even Baraja and Albelda both did a good job in protecting the defense. Joaquin had a very good first half with lethal long runs with the ball and some dangerous crosses, one which found Villa wide open only for Casillas to save, but then faded in the 2nd half. Fernandes did pretty good when he came in for Baraja in the 2nd half, controlling possession. Just a very good performance from Valencia. They'll be a VERY ENTERTAINING side to watch this season, fellas.
and the NEW
Good stuff on the Valencia front PR!!!!!!!!!

ha ha, I love to see the Madridistas suffer!!! Valencia always had the ability to play a fast, attacking, quick passing style! I can't wait to watch them in the league if they keep it up!!! As long as they don't play above Barcas standards! ha ha. Madrid is definately in a pre-season slump, so I hope a bad start to the season is in order.

Chelsea, as expected, look great. Deco shone as we knew he would and Lampard did play well in the centres with him. I'm still not sure about their formation, but Scolari seems to know exactly what he is doing, as we also said, one of the best in the world! They are going to be VERY hard to stop this season! BTW, where was Essien?

United, that was horrible to watch. I think half their problem was they were trying too hard almost. Ronney was running around like a mad man! A lot of their counter attacks lacked structure. Even the defence on corners looked horrible, they were nearly caught out by Martins I think it was once again in the second half. Wes Brown, man, what a player he has developed into though!!! One of the best in the business himself, should be getting more credit! Vidic was lucky IMHO that he didn't give away a penalty in the box near the start.

Only one of the big 4 in England have really made an impression so far. As Maxy also said, I wonder how Ronaldo will perform (where is his head at), when he returns. Just watching him on the sidelines, I don't think his heart is at Old Trafford anymore. But his competitive attitude will surely see him play to his max when he does get out on the pitch. Very interesting season. I just HOPE Chelsea don't run away with it from the get go an establish a big lead. That opening draw for United is very tough, they really need to beat Portsmouth, who despite having a good squad on paper, really lack to me.

QUOTE(Fitz @ Aug 18 2008, 12:04 AM) [snapback]401018[/snapback]
I think Fletcher (pretty sure it was him) who is just as much to blame for the goal. Martins was totally unmarked inside the box. It was a free header and Fletcher wasn't even close to him. You can't leave players on there own for free headers.

Yes Fletcher was definitely at fault but the point I was making was that Van der Sar should have caught the initial ball into the box instead of punching it (feebly) back into play. This then led to the corner from which Martins scored. If Van der Sar had caught it originally (like he should have done) there would have been no corner, and therefore no goal.

Just got home from work and reading that Spurs are still keen to hang onto Berbatov. I say good luck to them, he's their player and if they don't want to sell it's their right to keep him. BUT we have to find an alternative.
and the NEW
I still think Berbatov to United and Arashvin to Spurs in the very near future.

Just got done watching the Gamper Cup between Barcelona and Boca Jrs, with Barca winning 2-1.

I have to say, that Barcelona when they decide to turn it on, play some of the most EXQUISITE football I have ever seen. Despite going down a goal early, for the most part they clearly outplayed them with a mostly 2nd string squad on the field. Hleb was amazing. He kept possession, distributed the ball well, and made some dangerous looking runs that you just FELT would lead to a goal somehow. Henry wasn't so hot. His great moments are few in between now. But its downright SHOCKING at times. His touch is off. When have I ever seen that before from Henry??.. He was not on the same page at all with Bojan(Who for some reason got the start over Eto'o, nono.gif ). Bojan on the other hand sad for me to say, is NOT a true number 9. He just doesn't cut it. He's not strong enough, can't hold the ball up well, lacks imagination in his passing and moving, and basically just got his ass kicked by those Boca defenders. It was so poetic when Eto'o came on and all of a sudden, things changed. Xavi, Iniesta, and Yaya Toure showed quality. And once this line up was on the field it was literally INSTANT the change. Puyol scored a header at the 90th minute to tie to the score, and then about 1 minute later, Eto'o like he always does finds the open seam down the channel and finishes clinically but with his head. Again, Pep wanted to offload this guy(WTF). Barcelona are a scary team either if your a fan or a rival. These guys can literally go a whole 90 minutes without netting a goal with you up 1 and they can score on you back to back when their true workhorses are out on that pitch. When this team gets all their starters back and ready to roll, Real Madrid need to watch out. Hell, they need to watch out for Valencia too while they're at it.

A bit on Real Madrid.

This team is built to control games and possession (Robinho, Van Der Vaart, Sneijder, De La Red, and Guti)... All these guys are suited to holding on to the ball, moving it around, and then pushing once they find a seam... In that sense they're kind of one dimensional. The only guy that showed any real intention to take on any defenders was Robben once he came in for Robinho who simply could not find a way past Miguel. Real's problems lie in defense, injuries, and quick counter attacking teams. In defense, Pepe was doing everything alone it seemed. Ramos pushes up a bit too much, and with Cannavaro not being the defensive force he once was, Pepe is going to need some help. Last season this was evident, and much like I suspected all along, it remains the same. They are vulnerable to teams that have guys that will fight them in the midfield for loose balls, and quickly get off to the races once they get it. Last year, Getafe, Valencia, and Roma all exploited this along with others. The reason is that their defenders while strong and aggressive, are slow, with the possible exception of Ramos. Teams with quick attackers always give them problems, stretching their defense and disorganizing them completly. Definitely some things to look out for.

On the positive side, to be fair to them, mentally they're all very tough. Alot of leaders on that team. They don't give up. They were played completely out of the park throughout by Valencia but on the lone opportunity they got in the 1st half to convert, they did. I hate Van Nistlerooy, but you don't get any more accurate or clinical in front of goal. At least you'd be hard pressed to. Raul typical of him, drifts in and out of games, and contributes a goal here and there, but its almost always an important goal that he scores to lift morale and spirits. They play the only type of football that they can because none of their attackers contribute much of anything in defense, and none of them are ball winners, with the exception of Guti, which is a big reason why teams can hit them literally at will on the counter attack if they have the right players to do so. But in terms of just pure OPTIONS, nobody has more than Schuster at his disposal. So many attackers out there. It is hard to compete with that. Cannot be denied. But I sense a lack of balance. These guys wanted to sign Cristiano Ronaldo who would walk into any team as a starter. But how do you fit Van Der Vaart, Sneijder, Robinho, Robben, Guti, and Ronaldo EVERY WEEK into the starting line up???.... I think without Ronaldo, they're going to have enough problems as it is with accomidating everyone with game time, and everybody has a big ego in football. I sense some possible internal dissent. Keep in mind that Madridistas absolutely HATE Schuster and think he's a terrible manager(Yes I know alot of this is due to getting beat by Valencia), but even in matches the team won last year, many of them were still clamoring for a better manager.

25 million euros is being demanded for Arshavin, and the leading candidates are Tottenham and Barcelona. Both teams have more than enough funds to cover that fee, but the question is how long will they wait it out to see to it they get it at a price they want.

2nd leg of the Super Cup is next week at Bernabeau with Valencia up 3-2 on aggregate but Real do have 2 away goals. I personally would love for Valencia to win this trophy as a confidence booster but whats more important to me is that they play WELL. The football they played yesterday was beautiful. A bit like Arsenal, but not quite as many long balls down the middle, and they have players that can take defenders on. Just true Spanish football. But my concern is that the team gives a good account of themselves so that when they head into this season, they have a fresh mind, knowing that last year was a one off.
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Yeh, Barca can definately be scary! I'm mainly still just concerned about their defence. Hleb was my favourite at Arsenal, along with Fabregas, so I am very glad we got him!!!! He has a LOT of quality! Cannot wait until I get to see more of him in La Liga. I think Bojan has a lot of ability as a true number 9 personally, but he still definately has some growing to do. Give him a couple years. As long as he doesn't begin starting over Eto'o!!

See Xavi come out and say the discipline is a lot stronger under Pep! Not unexpected. If he can discipline the team structure, it will immensly help the defence.

Agree on Madrid, just can't wait now to see Valencia beat their azz in the Super Cup! ha ha. Madrid do now have too many players to accomodate, just like Chelsea (and Barca at one stage).

But Madird can push guys like Robinho and Robben into the frontline as opposed to the wings, just as Chelsea do with Joe Cole. Despite it being far from their best positions (though Robinho is suited to the frontman a bit more).
Currently watching Brazil vs Argentina rightn ow in the Olympics and the score is 0-0.

Messi and Riquelme haven't really exploded yet. Ronaldinho has had moments of liveliness but hasn't really penetrated with any confidence or decisiveness. At least not yet.

We'll see how it plays out.
and the NEW
Fukcin hell, I can't see the match anywhere here.

Let us know how it panned out?
Brazil destroyed. 3-0 the final score with 2 goals from Aguero and a penalty strike from Riquelme. Messi provided an assist for one of Aguero's goals. Brazil as a whole were very flat in the 2nd half. The players looked and played VERY TIRED.. Not so much in attack but more in DEFENCE... No organization or structure. They lack a MARSHALL.. Somebody that controls the lines and keeps his fellow defenders in formation. They were all over the place. Very Bermuda Triangle like. Ronaldinho worked hard and back tracked to help more than he probably really wanted to but it does show how bad he wanted to win this one. Onward.

Argentina, sure favorites now will face Nigeria in the medal round.

Seeing as the EPL has kicked off already and La Liga is in its pre-season, I just want to get your guy's thoughts on a few things...

One of them is Arsenal, more in particular Arsene Wenger. MAXY, ATN, and FITZ, do any of you guys think the pressure is officially on Wenger this season more than ever??... Or does he have the Emirates pass for life??.. I mean, he's been basically given the squad he's wanted on a silver platter almost. He refused to sign David Villa despite being available for just 17 million(Despite the front office and fans wanting him), didn't address the needs in defence, and has failed to replace Hleb. He's built his team around kids whom have very little experience at the top level and the feeling is that maybe the front office is losing their patience. I'll go on record and say that Wenger does have to win at least 1 MAJOR COMPETITION this year, be it the league or the Champions League. I could be wrong. But 4 straight years without trophies???... Thats alot to take in for any Arsenal fan.

What about Rafa Benitez??... He's been skating on thin ice for a long time too I think, becoming almost obsessed with the Champions League and playing weaker squads for EPL encounters. I don't get it. If Benitez was able to win 2 Liga titles with Valencia, and one of those years also winning a UEFA Cup to go with it, then how is he not able to do something with that ridiculous talent pool he has to pick from over there???... I'll say this.. If by December the team is not near the top, I think he's done.

This one is about La Liga and though MAXY you only follow it casually, feel free to answer since your team is in a similar situation. The dreaded THREE PEAT.... Very few teams do it... 2 seasons ago I tipped Barcelona to three peat and they ALMOST did it, losing out to Real Madrid despite an inferior goal differential. Man United are in the same position...

Real Madrid have alot of problems.. One of them is TOO MUCH TALENT... Sneijder, Robinho, Van Der Vaart, Guti, De La Red, etc.. Talk about OVER KILL.. The other one is their AGE... They're getting up there now and more and more injury prone as the season goes on. Last season, they went through a bad spell of losing games to mid and lower table teams and had it not been for Barcelona, Valencia, and Sevilla having problems of their own, I very much doubt that their extremely talented but average playing team would not have retained their title. All of Barca, Valencia, Sevilla, Villareal, and Atletico have all gotten stronger and who knows whom else may crash the party. Difficult for me to see it honestly. Even though Real have the resources to literally BUY their way to the championship. I just feel that the whole saga with Cristiano Ronaldo has taken some sort of toll. Their pre-season has been SHOCKING to say the least. Schuster's living on borrowed time too. He promised attractive football and its just not happening. Real have been having to grind out results, plus Schuster doesn't have the balls to put either Raul or Van Nistlerooy in their places. I know its only pre-season, and Real may still yet win the Super Cup against Valencia this Sunday. But they're far from the force that they're hyped up to be. Sneijder will be out for a couple of months too.

I tip Barca to pull it off. Real will probably finish 2nd with either Valencia or Villareal taking 3rd place.


EPL champions- Chelsea, with Man United in 2nd, Liverpool in 3rd, Arsenal in 4th.

La Liga champions- Barcelona, followed by Real Madrid, Valencia, and Villareal.

Serie A- Inter Milan, followed by AC Milan, Roma, and Juventus.

EPL scoring title- Torres, followed by Adebayor and Berbatov(If he signs for United).

Liga scoring title- Eto'o(Just too on fire this pre season). Villa will follow, along with Aguero and Fabiano.

I've been wrong before, but I'm sticking my neck out again. Fuk it.
and the NEW
I definately think Benitez is on borrowed time, how about the players he is signing!! WTF, he needs spark and width and he is just not adding it! He does everything in his power to make Liverpool boring!

To be fair to both he and Wenger though, I think it is hard to compete money wise at the moment with the big guns in United and Chelsea. Wenger definately could have signed another one or two good guys and that would have definatley helped, but I really think with Deco there, Chelsea are going to be a FORCE this season! Both CL again and especially the Premiership!

I think Wenger still has another season left in him after this. If he fails this season, fails to make any good transfers next season, Fabregas will probably walk and Wengers reign will be completely FINISHED. Fabregas is instrumental to Wenger to say the least.

I tend to agree on Madrid, just too many names now and they are looking TERRIBLE! I think they may have their 3rd time unlucky moment as do most teams!

OFFICIAL PREDICTIONS: Chelsea, United, Arsenal, Liverpool. I think the big 4 will manage to be there at the end once more, the other teams just aren't quite strong enough yet. But an injury to Fabregas or Torres could make all the difference.

Barca (ha ha, if only wishful thinking, again, Messi has to stay fit), Madrid, Villareal, Valencia (Atletico could push both Villareal and Valencia for the top 4).

Inter, Milan, Juventus, Fiorentina (I think they will knock Roma out this season).

Saw the Brazil V Argentina highlights, man, Brazilians must be PIZZED! They got tore apart, are so desperate to win the Olympics and to Argentina of all teams! It is nearly the WC Argentina squad, insane!!!! They are going to be at the top of world football for a long time IMO.

Scoring title: Torres and Eto'o.

On another note, how about Usain Bolt!!!! FUKC ME, I didn't think he could break the 200 record by the man with the golden boots! He really went for it and JUST made it, incredible athlete!!!! I wish I could run that fast!!!!! If only he could do it while dribbling a ball! ha ha.

Oh, just read Arsenal have signed Silvestre, what do you think of this boys? I hope this is not that last transfer Wenger promised..............
Its weird because its not like Barca are soft in the middle or even at the back. Yaya Toure is a great holding mid who I think can protect the defense very well, ala Marcos Senna. Maybe Rijkaard just couldn't figure out a way to properly organize it. I think Barcelona just really missed Deco the past year and a half or so. He was injured most of the 2006 2007 season and this past seasons with all the problems with the whole organization he had, was basically excluded from Barca's plans unfairly. But his contribution of both offense and defense was the really the engine for that fast car that was Barcelona. His vision and passing, along with his uncanny ability to make runs into open space really parted the sea that was an opponent's defense, thus allowing Ronaldinho, Eto'o, and Messi to really do their thing. Its hard to replace that. Xavi is a great long ball specialist, able to thread the needle like few can, but he doesn't have the talent or imagination that Deco has. The weak link in defence I always felt was Thuram for you guys. Now that he's retired, I wonder where they're gonna slip Abidal in??.. He's not strong enough to be a center back IMO. I guess I would put him on the left, and partner Puyol with Gabby Milito, and of course Alvez on the right. What I don't get is that many Barca fans prefer Marquez to Milito.. I just think Marquez is too slow.

Fairly accurate predictions to me seems. I just have trouble seeing Real Madrid luck out again(Maybe I'm in denial). But I'm not alone. I have friends that are Madrid fans and they are not happy either. Particularly with Schuster's line ups, and his failure to play Cassano, Saviola, De La Red, and even Robinho is not counted on as much as we'd all like to believe. That defense is just horrible. I don't know if its because they're missing Cannavaro, but very organized and vulnerable to quick counterattacks. Pepe again, is very good but has no help, and its not like he was getting a ton of it from Cannavaro last season either, whom is now 34 years old. Quite up there in age if you ask me and me myself being 26 and recently recovering from an ankle injury, I know that it makes you vulnernable to that same injury again and mine was just a mild sprain. Cannavaro had a really bad one.

I think Barcelona are ready. Eto'o is in fine form(I think he'll be the difference maker all season if he stays fit), Hleb has really adapted well to the Barcelona system, and Messi is also in form, killing teams in the Olympics. Thus far, and I know the key words are THUS FAR, the defense has held up well. I particularly like that Alvez is not just running out and taking defenders on. He's linking up play with Xavi and Iniesta, threading some nice balls for Henry and Eto'o, and making intelligent runs into space. He'll be the man that will be counted on to step forward in place of Ronaldinho to deliver free kicks. His one on one marking needs work, due to him overpursuing, but he is a very strong guy(Don't let his size fool you), and in the past we've seen him throw around people like Villa, Eto'o and Adebayor. The key is the back centers. Whom ever partners Puyol there will be key in completing the squad.

Valencia have taken steps forward. Their pre-season has been uneven, but as of late, its been very good. The team could use a DM thats for sure. Albelda and Baraja are just too old. Fernandes is being counted on HEAVILY by Emery, getting game time, and the few minutes he saw against Real, I thought aside from 1 mistake or 2, he looked good. What he needs is TRUST. From the manager, teammates, and himself. He's a strong guy and he can play box to box. He needs game time at the top level. We're all seeing Silva become a star and thats great for the team. We have youngsters like Mata, Pablo, and Alexis whom all seem to be in the plans of Emery. Banega sadly doesn't seem to be counted on, probably due to his off the field problems. He looks set to go out on loan to Atletico. That defense needs improvement. Moretti has been horrible, and Marchena is going to be out injured for a bit. However, our schedule is VERY EASY those first 11 or so weeks. What sucks is that our final 4 weeks in consecutive order we play Villareal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Espanyol, and Atletico. Thats pretty brutal towards the end, but I guess thats what we get for having it easier than everyone else early.

As far as the Olympics, what about this one ATN....

If Bolt were to add the 200m and 4 x 100m relay to his gold medal tally... Would he eclipse Phelps as the man of the games??... I'd say it would be pretty close thats for sure.
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Well Abidal is always the left back, he is there every week. With only Sylvinho sometimes filling in for him.

I've only seen him try to play centre back a few times (his 'preferred' position) and he is horrible there!

It appears, Abidal, Milito, Puyol and Alvez (replacing Zambrotta), will be the favourited backline once again. I always felt this was the best lineup for Barca with what they have available. Thuram was too old and slow and Marquez is too slow and just doesn't mark up well. I don't mind him as a player, but he has to be a defensive mid for me, not a back. He can play some great long balls out of deep midfield.

Xavi is great at threading long balls, but I'm afraid that is all he is great at. Other than this, he is a hard working, good short passing player without much more on offer.

Just to add to my predictions, I think Chelsea will win comfortably and I think Inter will struggle to fight off Milan, whilst Barca will also struggle to fight off Madrid.

Usain Bolt, to me, is already the man of the Olympics! I didn't think I would see the 200m record gone in a long long time!!!!! Not to mention, I remember at Sydney 2000 Olympics, they were talking how the 10second 100m had never been cracked on Australian soil. Only a few men had ever run sub 10 in history. If Bolt ran that out, he could have potentially cracked into the 9.50s, absolutely insane! He is a very very special athlete. I think if he remains injury free, before he is done, he will set some times that will stand for multiple decades to come!

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ha ha, both are special. Let's also not forget though, if Thorpe was still around, Phelps wouldn't have collected quite as many medals!

But that 200m record was astonishing, I didn't think anybody would break it, including Bolt. Though I thought he had a chance, I thought it was just out of his reach.

He just come so far so quick, it is incredible to think he can improve from here! What is he capable of! A 9.50 100m and a 19.00 200m? I would not put it past him over the next few years! Though he has been injured before for multiple years, so it could well happen again! Not to mention, with other good runners out there like Powell and Gay, amongst a miriad of others, the way Bolt just toys with them is something else!

See Sunderland signed Cisse! I LOVE watching that man play, though he is a bit past it now! Keane is sure setting Sunderland up to stay the long haul! Cisse and Diouf upfront, ha ha, a bit of flamboyance there!

Oh, I also read Wenger is after Barry, and for some reason, I can see this coming off! He would suit the Arsenal style too and allow Nasri to move further out to the right wing. Interesting move should Arsenal take it and would really add to their midfield. Just need Eduardo to come back fit and hope Silvestre can do a better job in the backline than Senderos! ha ha. Can't be hard!

Hey PR, I also saw you made 5 transfers this week. Be careful with that, I did it last season and went too far behind early on. You are deducted 4 points for every transfer you make (though the first 1 is free per week). You also get a 'wild card' whereby you can use it and make as many transfers as you want in one week. It's best to save this until towards the end of the season encase you need to try something drastic to catch up.

Nearly time for another week!!!! Can't wait already! Then the following week La Liga starts!!!!
^^^Believe me my friend, I was absolutely DREADING it, but I've been really unlucky with injuries!.... LOL!!!... A couple of those players had long term injuries too. I don't plan on making any more changes until at least the latter part of the seasons arrives. Of course if Ronaldo starts banging in some goals, then I may make that move but I honestly don't see Cristiano having as good as season as last year. Not so much because of his injury, but because I feel, no matter what Ferguson may say, Ronaldo's heart is not at Old Trafford anymore. Not saying he'll tank it in the games because of it, but early signs indicate that Man United will struggle.

The 2nd leg of the Spanish Super Cup is on Sunday at the Bernabaeu. 3-2 is not a bad result going into the 2nd leg for Real. The question is "Are Real as bad as the pre-season has thus far shown?"... I know that one shouldn't get carried away with results in the pre-season because Real lost this same tournament to Sevilla last season. But I just feel that Real has really lucked out these past couple of seasons and they're due for some bad luck this time around. Can't just scrape lucky wins all the time and win titles that way. Valencia of course, appear new and fresh. Their pre-season started slow but they've picked up some very good results in recent weeks. Their transfer season has not been the greatest, but we did make a nice pick up in the Brazilian goal keeper Renan who really seems like a beast in between the sticks, and hopefully we can pick up another DM just to add some depth. We've got Manuel Fernandes back from loan to Everton, and its nice to see that Emery has lots of faith in the young kid, and he needs that. We really need a guy who has the strength and physicality to hold on to the ball. And I'm curious to see if he can thread those long balls down the middle. But as a whole, things are certainly looking up. I do think Van Der Vaart is a great player, but I sense a serious lack of cohersion in Real Madrid midfield and attack, despite all those great names. Seems without Sneijder, they lack attack threat. Hopefully Valencia take this one, but I just want to see a good game where Valencia gives a good account of themselves, and Real a run for their money. AMUNT VALENCIA!..

Speaking of Real Madrid, it seems that Robinho may be on the way out to an already strong Chelsea, as well as appearing to be in the market for a striker. rolleyes.gif They're greedy bastards. They have Van Nistlerooy, Raul, and Saviola. Cassano can also play as a striker. These guys literally want to POACH everybody's else's talent. Its like they're trying to BUY a championship. They're desperate and I knew all along. They continue to meddle around inquiring about Villa, Huntelaar, Benzema, and others. Villa has already turned them down and they still insist. Pisses me the fuk off. They're so arrogant and have absolutely no respect and no method about conducting honorable business. They just assume everybody wants to be on their team and you know whats worse???... Their FANS are exactly the same way!.. If anybody reads up on these guys, in the past 2 years they've been in the market for Ronaldo, Villa, Eto'o, Fabregas, Kaka, Benzema, Huntelaar, etc. GOD DAMN IT!!... Why not just buy the whole world while your at it??... I despise them. On their day, they can play some good football, but as a club, I have no respect for them. Its clubs like them that make these players get greedy and demand more money when they don't deserve it. I just hope somebody beats them and knocks them down. Don't care whom. Barcelona, Valencia, Villareal, Sevilla, even Pathetico Madrid. I don't care. I just want somebody to bring those corrupt bastards down!!..

Sunderland signed Cisse huh??... He's still young. He was definitely played out of position when he was at Liverpool. Never understood why he was never able to take his game to the next level. He was certainly fast enough for the Premiership. Still should be. He is a small guy, though. Maybe those big strong defenders just kick his ass everytime.

I guess Arsene Wenger is really aiming high. LOL... He promised BIG SIGNINGS after the season was over and he has not brought 1 CRACK to the Arsenal side. Arsenal only have 1 player that can make a difference, and thats Fabregas. He's the only one who can step up on the big stage and deliver when it counts. All those other youngsters are good, but a cut below. Nasri is a quality signing, but he's still on the rise and though he had a decent game last week on his EPL debut, he cannot be counted on to step into an injured Fabregas' shoes. I hope Eduardo comes back fit. Eduardo is a potential crack but who knows how long it will take him to get back form and match fitness. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't feature at all until the very end of the season or so. This leaves Wenger with Adebayor, Van Persie, Walcott, and Bendtner to count on. All talented players, but none of those guys are difference makers. When a team is competing at the top level like against a top 3 team in the league, or in a Champions League or UEFA Cup, none of those guys have proven capable of stepping up to that big stage and delivering. You know, players that are difference makers. Players like Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo(Except Euro 2008), Villa, Torres, Drogba, Silva, Sneijder, Fabregas, etc, have scored game winning goals on the big stage with all the pressure on. Arsenal lacks those types of players and thats 1 reason they fail to reach the very top. I see the same thing again this season.

Saw the USA ladies take down Brazil with DEFENCE DEFENCE DEFENCE... Saw most of their journey to the Gold Medal and they played very well throughout. They did a good job.

Saw the men's basketball, with Kobe Bryant absolutely DESTROYING Argentina single handedly almost, with the others not doing that well with the exception of Chris Paul. They play Spain in the final match for the gold medal, and there is this young Spanish kid, 17 years old being touted for the NBA. His name is Ricky Rubio, and he reminds me alot of Bojan Krkic. Hopefully he does something because he's an excellent player for his young age and he'll put Spain's name in very high value should he make it to the NBA. If your a basketball fan, keep your eye out on him.

Looking forward to see if Bolt can break Johnson's record. I say if he does, he has to be the man of the games definitely.
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Yeh, I have a feeling Chelsea are going to do a Madrid and a Barca if they get any more signings! Robinho added to what there is already there? It is going to be a DOG FIGHT to get on the pitch!!!! Terrible for the team chemistry!

Yeh, I watched the bball, US looks way too good! Dominating it! Though I generally don't watch much of it in the regular NBA season, too busy watching soccer.

Bolt broke the 200m record days ago PR! ha ha. They just broke the 4*100m relay record too!

Thx Fitz, saw it. Nigeria are a very good team, too bad they can never produce in the WC!!!!!
Arsenal are really struggling. They were absolutely STUNNED by Fulham, a mid table team at best. They're just not clicking. Fullham looked comfortable in possession and threw Arsenal's game of pass and move right back at them. Arsenal fielded a central midfield partnership with Eboue and Denilson and it was just absolutely TERRIBLE. The only time Arsenal looked dangerous was on a through ball by Van Persie that Adebayor shot wide. Fullham's midfield controlled by Davies and Murphy was just clicking on all cylinders and it should have been 2-0. Arsenal just offered so little. So little in attack, and less in the midfield. Their defense was the only thing that kept it from being more than 1-0. Hangeland scored Fullham's goal on a nice finish off a corner kick, with a nice slide kick, leaving Alumnia unable to do a thing. Hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come. But I had a feeling that the players just aren't buying into the system anymore and are losing faith. All the talk of failing to make big transfers and of Fabregas possibly walking within the next 2 years probably played a part too, along with Adebayor's shenanigans. Deserved win for Fulham, for sure. They controlled from start to finish and Arsenal just look impotent.

Saw the gold medal match with Argentina and Nigeria. Kind of boring at first, with no players really standing out. The only goal came in the 2nd half, off a nice through ball to Di Maria who then lobbed it over the goal keepers head perfectly into the net. But I think as a whole, Argentina really struggled to create opportunities. Their passing was TERRIBLE. Defense was excellent even though Nigeria looked dangerous. Messi came on well in the 2nd half and was surprisingly subbed off. Riquelme had a very ordinary day, while Aguero had some nice moments but was a bit sloppy with his touch on the ball at times. That said, they'll still be a great side to watch come this World Cup in 2010.

Liverpool looked good in coming back against Middlesborough 2-1. The partnership with Torres and Keane was MUCH BETTER this time around. They played off each other well. Torres looked good, constantly troubling Middlesborough's backline with his runs into space. He gave them hell. Keane played almost like a playmaker in the 2nd half, playing well with Kuyt, Torres, and Gerrard. Benayoun was the one who went completely missing, which is rare for him. Alonso and Gerrard did great in controlling the midfield. Alonso's long passing wasnt there, but he was a rock in defense, for sure, while Gerrard went in and out of the game at times, but scored the winning goal. Carragher, not known for his finishing scored the other goal. I'd say that these are encouraging signs for Liverpool. Only time will tell, though. Fans should be pleased with their performance overall though, especially Keane and Torres working as well as they did together.

I think its Portsmouth vs Man United tomorrow as well as Chelsea vs Wigan.

And lets not forget the 2nd leg of the Spanish Super Cup between Valencia and Real Madrid. AMUNT VALENCIA!, as always.
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That was THE WORST Arsenal performance I think I have ever seen in my life and that is no joke. They had no structure, the technique wasn't even there, no penetration, weren't moving the ball, no creativity! They looked HORRIBLE, to a Fulham team which is a below mid-table side.

They have NO CHANCE this season. Fabregas is needed badly by Wenger, and even then, after that performance, I question whether they can be top 4! He really has to come back and make a big impact and Adebayor has to find his shooting boots once more! RVP is good, but still don't see him as being a big threat or getting 20 goals in a season. I like Eduardo more personally.

Terrible terrible to watch.

Tottenham lost also, to a strong Sunderland side who could really send some shockwaves this season. They have experience at the back, with flamboyance upfront! They will be a tough team to beat this season.

Liverpool and Middles played a good game I thought. A lot of movement, with Downing looking dangerous, along with Keane. Nice strike by Carragher. Keane definately helps Torres upfront and takes a bit of pressure off him. See how Chelsea looks tonight. What a flop of a start to the season, but really makes it interesting. Some of these teams can really compete with the big boys now, I am very impressed with the squads of Middlesborough and Sunderland, two mid to lower table teams, who could well and truly break into the top half this season.
Man Utd don't play until Monday evening. Fingers crossed we can get something down there.

Arsenal were very poor indeed. Fans are beginning to ask questions now and the untouchable Wenger is suddenly starting to look in danger of losing the fans 100% backing. All Arsenal fans want to know is if there is actually any money to spend. Wenger has claimed he has funds so if that is true why isn't he spending any money when it is obvious his team lack quality in numbers? Losing a match so early in the season to a side like Fulham isn't catastrophic but Arsenal didn't look great in their opening match either so there are worrying signs. Signing Silvestre has left the majority of Arsenal fans scratching their heads. He's 31 and past his best. He's spent a lot of his recent career in the treatment room and he is prone to big mistakes. For me he is definitely not the answer to Arsenals defensive problems and they badly need somebody else. Most fans are asking why Wenger didn't move for Vincent Kompany after Wenger himself admitted he had been watching the player for some time and might make a move. He wasn't expensive and he's a good player who can play in defence or midfield. Versatility at a time when the squad has injuries is vital.

Well done Sunderland. I'm really pleased for them and I hope they continue to impress. Roy Keane is looking like an excellent manager and the more success he has there, the greater the chances of him being Fergusons replacement within the next two seasons. All United fans would gladly accept that. Spurs are in a bad way. Apparently Berbatov refused to play and his attitude is obviously having a bad effect on the dressing room. What is the point in hanging onto him if he isn't going to perform for you? Don't get me wrong, I think its terrible that he is acting like this. Yes he wants a move but he is paid to play and is under contract. Player power is one of the most sickening things in modern football. Ronaldo could have done the same thing and forced a move but at the end of the day its not how things should be done. I think Ferguson, behind the scenes, would have made it quite clear to Ronaldo that whatever he did he wouldn't be sold and so the player had to fall in line. He's 23 so he knew he could bide his time. Berbatov is 27 and the deadline is about a week away. He must be getting desperate now, hence his disgusting attitude. Would I want him at United? Of course but it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth when players are able to control their own destiny even though they are under contract. Oh well.

Going to watch Madrid hopefully get stuffed by Valencia later on. I'll be following the football in Spain a lot more this season with an anybody but Madrid attitude!

BTW, my fantasy league team selection is shite. I've got a lot of transfers to make to try and amend it but I'll be too far down the table to make an impact. Guess I shoud have picked my team sober!

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Maxy, don't worry, you can use your 'wild card' and change your entire team without a cost. You are still in the race, no doubt about it. Just have a quick read of how players score points in the comp and pick from there. Like I said before, game time and assists/goals are a MUST. So guys who take free kicks, corners always get points. Also, it's important for the backs to score on the odd occassion or for them to play in a structured squad so they won't concede too often, cause they get like 5 points for a clean sheet.

Still though, nobody is out of it yet, it's a long season, so you can easily catch up. If you are 100+ points off the pace and into the second half of the season, it is hard work from there, you have to make trades and pick odd teams to try and catch the leaders, and you end up further behind. Looks like us 3 may be bottom soon! ha ha. My team has to come good soon, just have to have patience!

I agree, this season has been a POOR start for Arsenal and the warning signs are coming from all directions! I've never seen them look so shocking under Wenger! They had nothing and it's not like it was the opposition playing well! It was Fulham of all teams, they are terrible with barely any quality!

Wengers is definately loosing the faith of the fans and the big quesiton for me, same as you and PR, is HOW MUCH MONEY DOES HE HAVE? I hear he has quite a bit, so I think they got his French nationality wrong! He is probably from the further East of Europe wink.gif He needs to have a very big week in the transfer swoop! I would like to see him get Barry, but there isn't much else out there at the moment! Who knows, maybe a last minute swoop for out of favour Madridista Robinho? Stranger things have happened.

The Berbatov situation has to be resolved and is why I think he will end up at United. Whilst Ramos wil bring in the Russian boy wonder! Last minute rush transfers are always on the cards!

Well Valencia lost in the Super Cup to Real in what was really a wild game. Some of the mistakes that Valencia made were really comical, especially in defense which cost us to lose 4-2 in a match which we did control for a long time, going up 1-0 at the break. But its pre-season and its not something to dwell on. I honestly believe more than ever now, that Barcelona or Villarreal will take the title. Madrid rely on luck and on hope of their opponents making mistakes and I don't think even Valencia would make as money as they did in regular season play. On ward to La Liga which starts next Saturday.

Chelsea beat Wigan 1-0. I should rephrase a bit. DECO... beat Wigan. Not just with his free kick goal. But his creativity, vision, and imagination still remain what it was during his days at Barca. Amazing for a guy thats 31 years of age. He's still fast, great touch and control on the ball. Exquisite technique as always and just linking up well with his teammates. Only saw highlights and they focused on Deco obviously. Good away win for them. So far, they look the strongest.

Man United tomorrow is correct MAXY. I thought it was on Sunday for some reason. Transfer window is closing up. Hopefully the club can land that striker, whomever it may be.

I'll say it again, Arsenal NEED to win something this season, or there is a serious chance that Fabregas is gone, or Wenger is shown the door. I see them struggling to remain in the top 4. I could see Portsmouth, Man City, or Tottenham if they could ever put it together possibly push them for it towards the end of the season. Eduardo is not due back till no earlier than December, and it may take him who knows how long to be fit. Plus, will he be the same?... Walcott has not been cutting it in 3 straight Arsenal matches as a starter. I think he just hasn't been developed right. Seems to lack confidence on the ball and almost looks clueless at times. I think sadly, Arsenal may be in big trouble this season.
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Man, Chelsea were outplayed by Wigan! ha ha, what a difference one week can make!

Though, must say, why couldn't Deco land those free kicks for Barca? He took quite a few and was rubbish!

Walcott lacks confidence and most importantly awareness, big time! This is probably the hardest asset to ascertain.

Sunderland signed the other Ferdinand from what I see and Berva is edging ever closer to United...........
I see United won. Saw just highlights being in school I couldn't catch the match. From the looks of it, they'll start slow again like last season and possibly pick up alot of steam by the midpoint. Question is will Chelsea and Liverpool still be at the top by that point as well. Arsenal are just horrible at the moment so lets not even start.

MAXY and ATN this should amuse you guys. Real Madrid once again show their arrogance. They have bidded 50 million for Villa and have been rejected once again. LOL..... What part of "Villa is not for sale" do these guys not understand. According to Soriano, the new President of Valencia, Villa costs at least 60 million euros and the Madridistas are all PISSED.. Pissed off at us, and pissed off at Schuster and Calderon because even they recognize that they aren't going anywhere this season with those two old hags in Raul and Van Nistlerooy. Truth in all of this is, they may actually get desperate enough and bid 60 million but you would think after getting rejected TWICE this transfer window now that they'd get the picture. The other potential targets they are after are Benzema and Huntelaar... These clowns literally are trying to BUY their way to their 3rd championship. Problem is, I don't see how this would work because Schuster doesn't have the balls to bench either of those 2 old men so how would this rotation work out??..

Speaking of Real, I read some comments that Ronaldo made apparentley not too long ago. Don't know how recent this is MAXY, so maybe you can help me. Anyway, here's what he said.

I was thinking about playing in England for some years and then going to play in Spain. Why lie? I'm not going to be a hypocrite and say the opposite, like some others do. I said exactly what I thought: I have a dream of playing at Real and I thought it was time to move on. People can't be upset about me fulfilling a childhood dream.

Seems to me his heart is not at United anymore. But I don't think he'll sandbag it for you guys and not give 100%. He's a warrior at heart and he'll give his all for you guys so long as he's out on the field. The Madridistas are so arrogant they believe they already have him wrapped up for next season. Even if they do, I think they could show a bit more respect. Barcelona and Valencia do not conduct themselves in this sort of fashion.
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Yeh, while I don't think Ronaldos heart is at United, he is a competitor and LOVES his football. He will be itching to play again and so will put in 100% effort even if it's just for himself! Though he would be friends with some of the United lads, so I am sure he will give all he can for the team also.

They look like they need him back desperately. United, surprisingly, are lacking flair big time, as are Arsenal.

Good to see Deco start off so well in England, I will always want the best for him, so I am glad. In a way, I really hope to see Barca live to regret their stupidity. Guys like Xavi, Valdez, Marquez, Henry should have really been sacrificed IMO. They got rid of the wrong group of players, but I will give Pep the benefit of the doubt.
Ronaldo didn't have his heart at United ast season but it didn't affect his performances so I don't foresee a problem there. I just wish we'd sold him because all the doubts about his commitment further taint my opinion of him. PR, I think that was an older interview. The most recent interview talks about his frustration at not being able to play and how he knows he has to be patient but that he wants to try and be back sooner than October.

I thought we played quite well last night baring in mind that we are working with a depleted squad. Anderson only arrived back the day before the match but he played pretty well. We definitely lack a striker and everyday I keep my fingers crossed that the situation will be resolved. Time is ticking and we just have to sign someone because, as everybody knows, Rooney and Tevez, despite their industry, aren't prolific scorers. I think we'll gradually improve even with our curent squad as it is. We still have Hargreaves and Carrick to come back, Nani is now free to play and the other injured players are getting closer to full fitness. Obviously we won't have the same flair with Fletcher and O'Shea in the side but now Nani is set to return and Anderson is back, I don't hold any fears in that department. It was a tougher proposition than Chelsea had against Wigan but we dealt with it more comfortably in my opinion. Wigan deserved something out of that game. Middlesboro deserved at least a point against Liverpool also over the weekend.

Madrid are just arrogant scum. I hope they don't get their way with Villa. I hope they have a bad season and fail to qualify for the champions league...I hope a lot worse also but hey, I'll be content with that.
What the Real Madrid fans do not understand is the concept of LOYALTY... Players like Silva, Villa, Joaquin, Vicente, and Mata could win all but 1 LIGA with Valencia, and it would mean more to them than winning 4 with Real Madrid. They would treasure it because they're playing for a club they love as opposed to just moving to a big club for lots of money. Its a beautiful side to football that Madridistas will never understand. Players who played for Valencia are all remembered as legends and icons for Valencia knowing that they're a club whom is not the biggest when it comes to making money. Both Villa and Joaquin have been courted by Chelsea back when Mourinho was running the club. Villa is about to make 3 million a season with us now, but back then he was making 1.8 million euros a year, he could have been making about 4 million a year with Chelsea plus all the marketing and stuff. To Real Madrid, its all about money and glory. You look at their history and you realize that all those players that won so many titles with them are forgotten fast because they're always buying up big, taking everybody else's talents. Notice how when Real Madrid wins, nobody cares. People care when the likes of Barcelona or Valencia win the title, but when Real wins, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of most Spanish football fans because of what the club stands for.

Pavlyuchenko just signed for Spurs I hear???.... Does this mean Berbatov is going to rot in the reserves or will he be given his dream move??...

Barca lost the 2nd leg of their CL qualifying match against Wisla???... 1-0... Thats ok. That makes it 4-1 on the aggregate so they're already through.

Just 4 more days and La Liga kicks off, with Valencia hosting Mallorca. Hopefully they crush them and get the right start to the season.

You know MAXY, I know he's young still but I find it disappointing that Rooney hasn't improved his shooting accuracy in front of goal. He has great speed, workrate, and he's strong. Maybe his touch and technique on the ball aren't the greatest, but I think Rooney needs to step up a bit in that department. If he did, he would be a real difference maker for you guys and you wouldn't have to rely so much on Ronaldo.

Ronaldo didn't have his heart at United ast season but it didn't affect his performances so I don't foresee a problem there. I just wish we'd sold him because all the doubts about his commitment further taint my opinion of him. PR, I think that was an older interview. The most recent interview talks about his frustration at not being able to play and how he knows he has to be patient but that he wants to try and be back sooner than October.

I know I'm in the minority, but everything I've read from Cristiano since he spoke two weeks ago indicates he has been given the green light to leave next summer. He keeps saying they "agreed" on him staying at United "this season", and still openly admits his desire to join Real Madrid. Furthermore, Sir Alex confirmed an offer was made from Real Madrid that would have been the world record fee, but it was rejected. So, I guess it was around 80 M Euros. I think the clubs might even have agreed a fee and everything, but that's so far away, we'll have to wait and see.
Final Liga predictions(Or hopeful outcome if you want to call them that laugh.gif )

1 Barcelona
2 Real Madrid(I hope they finish out of the top 10)
3 Valencia(Praying)
4 Sevilla
5 Villareal
6 Patetico Madrid
7 Getafe
8 Racing Santander
9 Osasuna
10 Espanyol
11 Real Betis
12 Mallorca
13 Recreativo
14 Valladolid
15 Sporting Gijon
16 Deportivo
17 Malaga
18 Bilbao
19 Almeria
20 Numancia
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Unfortunately, I don't know the depth of the teams in La Liga the way you do PR. So can't really give a complete list. I know the top teams well, but further than that, only a few players on most of the teams. I know the Premier League a lot better and know most squads these days pretty well. I will stick to my top 4-6 I named the other day.

Not long now!

Liverpool nearly missed out on the Champs League!!! LOL. Typical. Now they will probably win it!

Still no big moves and the date is closing in quick! Chelsea looks ready to bring in another forward............Arsenal needs to do something QUICK, and United really need a forward also. Liverpool look done, the talk of Barry has disappeared.
Absolutely shocking performance last night from United. Rooney and Nani were abysmal and a disgrace to the United shirt. We didn't seem to start playing football until we were 2-0 down and I'm just amazed that we have let Saha leave if he is apparently fit now! Yes, Zenit were sharper having played something like 14 games in 50 days but thats no excuse for our woefulness all over the pitch. This season is going to be very difficult.

Ferguson....we need a striker...we need one now....3 days and counting....
Because it was the Super Cup, United can afford a drop in performance like that. Scholes will now be suspended for the CL opener due to his little hand ball incident. I just think that United at times rely too much on Ronaldo. They're definitely a MUCH DIFFERENT team with him on the pitch, thats for sure. I would think that getting a striker that is a proven goal scorer at top level would help with that alot. Problem is, with just 3 days left, it would be difficult to do because if United make a bid, you can rest assured that the other club will want to squeeze as much out of them as they can because United would be desperate. There are TONS of great strikers available if United reach deep in their pockets but the time is short, and the prices are high.

Portsmouth looked good today against Everton winning 3-0. Had a few shaky moments in defense, but James made a great save on that penalty attempt by Everton. Their schedule has been no fair, though. Season opener vs Chelsea and then Man United???... Oh my goodness. How unfair is that??.. LOL... But they look to be a good side this season and if they can string together some cosistent performances and Arsenal continue to fall, we might have a different contender for that 4th spot.

Great performance by Valencia. Beautiful one touch football by new coach Emery to this team. You were right about Fernandes ability to play box to box ATN... He was absolutely AMAZING... He gives our midfield the presence we've been missing for so long. He hustles hard, wins lose balls in the midfield, threads some nice long balls and basically orchestrated alot of our counter attacks. Had a couple of shaky moments in losing the ball but whatever. It was a very good game overall for him. The usual suspects scored, Villa, Mata, and Vicente. Villa despite scoring a goal wasn't up to his best but I think in a couple of weeks he'll be banging in goals like there's no tomorrow. Silva was my man of the match and was the spark behind the attack, providing service and support, and constantly getting behind the Mallorca defense. Miguel's resurgence continues. Fast, aggressive, and most of all, CONFIDENT. Was always dangerous and a catalyst for our counter attacks. Great game.The backline was solid overall. Had its shaky moments too but definitely played about as well as we could have asked them to. No crucial mistakes from them this time. Renan I thought was solid. Had a couple of good saves and he seems more confident than Timo in goal. Great debut for Emery. He's definitely more attacking than either Quique or Koeman were, and his tactics are sound. The little quick passes, players making runs off one another left and right, etc. We'll be a good side to watch this season by the early looks of it. The media are dubbing them "The Spanish Arsenal". I don't want to get carried away even though we did play much like that. I just want a good season from the lads. If we got 3rd place I'd rejoice.

Nice rebound from Arsenal against Newcastle. Definitely a HUGE improvement from the past couple of weeks. What a game, dominated the field from the first minute and could have scored more than 3 goals easily, good to see RVP playing well and scoring 2 goals, still not at his best though. Adebayor deserves a mention for his contribution and been really effective today, been everywhere and seemed tireless, had he scored from the chance he got he would have been MOTM easily. Denilson and Cesc were great defensively, won many tackles and looked solid, Denilson on the other hand wasn't as good offensively, many miss passes and wasn't as creative as he usually is, brilliant goal though. Pleasing performance. This one really is a step in the right direction. Hope RVP is ok. Picked up another injury seemingly. Nasri looks imo to have what Fabregas doesnt, more speed and strength, and a better shot, all with the same touch on the ball. I think Fabregas' passing and vision are much better though. Gallas was ok. Toure was very good. He deserved a goal!.. LOL... He did everything possible to get it. This was more vintage Arsenal but its far too early to say if they'll be able to compete for the title because they are prone to long lapses in good form and injuries of course. Hope Walcott gets more starts. He's got so much promise but needs more game time. Almost scored a goal when he came on but was unlucky. Wenger probably has restored some faith in the fans now. But all this game really showed is just how much the team NEEDS Fabregas. If Cesc is not fit, things will get very complicated for them this season. The depth isn't there seemingly. When you compare the midfields of Chelsea and Man United to Arsenal's, the options that Arsenal have are very limited compare to those other 2 clubs.
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lol, funny how teams can change so much from week to week. Arsenal and even RVP did the job! Agree on the Fabregas point, he is 100% critical to Arsenal! Oh Denilson is overrated too, he should not be playing in the first squad. I just don't think he has much quality. They still need a signing and it is said Arsenal have 30mil to spend, so what is he waiting for? Counting down now, should be some big transfers coming in the next little bit!

United did look horrible against Zenit, again, they just lack that flair. Nani is capable of it, but you need a lot more than him to win the game. Took them until the end to finally get going.

Did Chelsea actually get Robinho?

Valencia looked good. Yeh, Fernandez always impressed me in his youth, if he keeps developing, he could be a top box to box midfielder! Not to mention, the kid has the ability to put goals away. Watched the Inter game also, TERRIBLE! Mourinho has bought his boredom to Milan. Poor poor people. If they don't pick up, I would give AC Milan a shot this season. He made no good signings other than Mancini, whilst guys like Crespo and Figo are now way past it. I'm starting to think this may be a shift in the big 3 leagues, with the past Champions lacking this season.

Oh, I also see Saha is sold.

Just watched Chelsea, they looked like their typical selves and back to rubbish workman like efforts! Lamps nearly had a cracker of a chip!

AC Milan looked GOOD, they should have had about 6 goals from Ronaldinho assists, but their strikers couldn't finish (Scheva missed a near open goal after Ronnie skinned about 3 guys) and then the backs got caught on the counter. Though they got no points from a newly promoted team and at home, Milan are definately going to be a force this season IMO. A very new looking squad and they look like they could really click. So weird watching Ronnie and Zambrotta in one match and then Deco in another!
Barcelona were unlucky. Either 1 of Eto'o's header or Messi's free kick should have gone in. Pure bad luck. Though not up to par, they were clearly the better squad out there and deserved no less than a draw. I think Valdez is gonna ask alot of questions of himself after seeing that shot go in. It was very saveable. He really should do better considering that this time around, the defense gave him some very good protection. A professional goal keeper should be able to save those type of shots. That goal was a joke IMO. Henry was useless, sad to say. He really has trouble with the Spanish defenders. He's so much bigger and stronger than all of them too but they just seem to know how to mark him up tight. Hleb was brilliant when he came on, making some nice forward runs and dangerous passes but Barca just couldn't get a goal. Unfortunate considering its Numancia, but onward to next week. Bad result but nothing the team can't rebound from.

Real Madrid are POOR. I've been saying it all pre-season. They have looked absolutely HORRIBLE.. The only good teams they played they lost to, and they were completely outplayed for 3 halves of football against Valencia in the Spanish Super Cup. Deportivo owned them. Real finished the match with just 3 shots on goal I believe(How pathetic is that?)... Pepe was at fault for both goal scored against Real. Raul was shit. Guti was shit. Van Horse Face did score Real's only goal but other than that, he was useless. Without Sneijder or Van Der Vaart, these guys have NOTHING. And even with them, their defense is still a joke. And when Cannavaro comes back, its gonna be even worse because he commits stupid fouls and gets torched by fast strikers all the time. Pepe has no help there, and Ramos seems more concerned about looking at the ladies in the stands(Can't say I blame him, lol)... By the time Drenthe and De La Red were brought in, it was too late. Deportivo dominated the midfield and looked dangerous on the counter attack everytime. It could have been 3-1. In truth, Real can bounce back from this but it goes back to what I said about them having to EARN it this year. And I think thats exactly what they're gonna have to do because they're not as good as they would like to believe they are.

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Just watched Barca, another repeat of last season and no away form. Shut down by an Italian job. Over it.

Glad Madrid lost at least. May get a surprise winner this year, Atletico, Valencia?

Still too early in the season. I think we gotta wait till December at least to get a good idea about whom will be in line to win the title. But in reality, a surprise winner wouldn't be a bad idea. The past 6 years the league has been won by Barcelona, Valencia, and the corrupt bastards, but its been dominated by Barca and Real these last 4 years.

I still stick with my pick and say Barcelona. I think they'll get it together if they make a couple of line up changes, one being starting Hleb over Iniesta.

Atletico look very dangerous. And with Banega in the midfield for them now, they'll be hard to stop.

Valencia have shown some great stuff early, and they're more entertaining than they've ever been. The amount of talent the team has is ridiculous. Now can it all be put together?, is the question.

Don't discount Villareal and Sevilla just yet either. Neither looked all that good in drawing their opening day matches but there's too much talent on both sides to discount them completely.

Real Madrid have been poor all pre-season and it has not stopped. I don't know what their schedule looks like but I am curious because they look the WORST out of the top 6 thus far, with absolutely no signs of improvement.
Man City are now apparently the richest club in the world after the takeover today....

They've just had a bid of 30m accepted by Spurs for Berbatov and the player is on his way to speak to Mark Hughes as I type.

I'm gob smacked.

Can't think straight.

BTW I saw Barcelona and Madrid lose, neither looked any good but its early days.

Damn, my mind is in a blur right now. I cannot believe this City news. Stunned.
Wow. Robinho to Man City. Who would have thought??.. Huge signing for them.

Real Madrid put up a 60 million euros offer for Villa once again, and for the 3rd time they've been rejected. LOL!!!.... Good. Real Madrid not getting their way is just what I like to see. They're so arrogant, especially their FANS!!!... They just assume that EVERYBODY should want to play for their club simply because they can pay the most money. Their fanbase is so shallow. Their organization treats players like flavors of the month and then forgets about them after a couple of championships are won. Meanwhile, Villa could only win 1 Liga with Valencia and he'd treasure that more than winning 4 with Real and thats what pisses them off. LOL.. I'm so happy that happened to them.

Is Berbatov OFFICIALLY a United player now???... Thats the only thing I haven't found any links on.
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Lol, Maxy, must be happy with that pic mate! Berba now officially at United! With Ronaldo back in a few weeks, they should be a real force if they can just hang on for the next few weeks.

Robinho to Man City! DAMN! Brittish club record! What a squad they have now, with the likes of Hart, Dunne, Richards, Elano, Wright-Phillips, Robinho, Jo, Petrov, even a guy like Benjani (who is injured). They will be looking to crack that top 4 for sure!

What do you mean they are the richest club now Maxy? Who took over them from that Thai guy?

Also, Mourinho got Queresma over at Inter! sad.gif Damn, I wanted to see him in England.

This years CL is shaping up to be fantastic, some of those groups are pretty tough! Too bad Valencia and Milan are not there, or it would be full strength! But should still be excellent regardless! Some of these 3rd string teams could really upset the top 2 in each group this year. Luckily, Barca got one of the easiest groups! smile.gif
I'm actually curious about seeing the likes of Villareal and Atletico in the CL this time around. Its good to change things up every now and then. If all things go right, Milan and Valencia will BOTH be back in CL football next year. This season, we can enjoy both of them in the UEFA Cup and from the looks of it, both teams are really playing some beautiful football. Milan may have lost but it was a very good game from them and Ronaldinho still looks to be a great player. He didn't get to score a goal, but he did have a nice assist for Milan's only goal and he looked motivated. He still has the quality. The motivation and confidence(From the coach and fans of course) is whats key. Valencia of course looked very good and are playing some fluid, attacking stuff. Shaky at the back no doubt, especially without Marchena in there, but we all knew that and all we can do is hope that they have a good season. They mean so much to Spanish football as a club.

Great capture by United. Congrats on that one MAXY.... That will help SIGNIFICANTLY with goal scoring. And once Ronaldo comes back, I think United could be in the thick of things, depending on how long it takes Ronaldo to find form if long at all. With 3 weeks in, the EPL is now looking rather unpredictable. I mean you have your top 4 guns, and you also have the likes of Man City, Portsmouth, and possibly Tottenham knocking on the door. Usually in EPL, you know pretty much how it will go, but not this time. At least not for now. It looks open to me. Its basically up to any team to take the torch and run with it because nobody has been able to do that yet. Chelsea started strong but have faltered a bit lately. United started slow but appear that they may be able to pick it up. Same goes for Arsenal. Liverpool have been boring and not too impressive, but have managed to avoid defeat. Seems all the race cars are not hitting those high gears yet.

Can't say much about La Liga yet becaues its only week 1. On the surface of it, Barcelona and Real Madrid are in trouble, but who knows. Both teams have proven able to come back. Real in particular have mastered the art of looking like absolute shit everytime, and still manage to weasel their way to the top. Barcelona have so much talent that they're never out of the fight and could score out of nowhere on an opponent. Valencia are in the hands of a very talented manager who's been a rising prospect in Spain for some time now(Young coach at 36 years of age), so we could see the most of their talents possibly this season. Atletico Madrid have a great mixture of youth and experience and despite their inconsistency, will definitely make some noise. Sevilla and Villareal of course are dark horses. Getafe, Espanyol, and Osasuna are spoilers. Sporting Gijon and Numancia can upset ANYBODY... I think La Liga will be the league to watch this season.
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Looks like there may soon be a new owner at City, planning on sinking some HUGE cash into the club. Wants to be the next Abramovich by the looks. Might soon have a 'top 5' in England. Not to say they can't be part of that already if they can get things going.

Though their game in the UEFA Cup was HORRIBLE to say the least. They should have clearly lost. Wright Phillips on the right wing now and I wonder where he will play Robinho. Front with Jo or on the left wing...............? Interesting times, that's for sure.
QUOTE(Fitz @ Sep 1 2008, 07:07 PM) [snapback]402783[/snapback]
I think you spoke to soon Maxy, in the end I think United secured Berbatov, put in the big surprise, Manchester City landed Robinho.

I definitely spoke to soon Fitz. I heard a rumour whilst at work that Man City had made a bid for Berbatov and when I got home I read that the bid had been accepted and all sorts of doubts started creeping through my mind. I was in shock.

Anyway I stayed awake until 1.00am last night listening to all the deals going through and finally hearing confirmation that Berbatov had signed for us. So many rumours yesterday over here it was a bloody nightmare. At one point it was stated that Real Madrid had made a 36m bid for him and I just started to think we weren't going to sign him or any other striker for that matter. I was gutted haha. Got to say that I'm totally delighted now that we have signed him. I still question the way he went about forcing the move but sod it, it's the modern face of football and that sort of thing will happen more and more now. He's a quality player, a completely different option up front and somebody that will add so much versatility to our attack. If he plays regularly I can definitely see him having a hand (either scoring them or assisting them) in 30 plus goals this season.

ATN, Man City's new owners are richer than Roman Abromovich and the key man for them has stated that he wants to sign 18 30m players! He has also said he will bid for Fabregas and Torres plus he wnats to bid 120m for Cristiano Ronaldo. The man means business! However, he won't get any of those players, I can tell you that now. One thing is for certain though...City are now a genuine force in world football as their signing of Robinho clearly proves a statement of intent. They want the Champions League within 3 years and they'll be more massive signings in January. Next summer I think they'll be in for every top class player in the world and they can outbid anyone. Quite scary really.

Isn't it great though that Real Madrid have lost Robinho and haven't replaced him? I bet they never expected him to accept a deal from Man City! It's almost even better that Chelsea didn't get him. One in the eye for them, haha.

I'm really excited now about how the season will turn out. It's getting more and more competitive every year over here. Loving it.
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Yeh, I was excited to see Robinho go to City.

Maxy, yeh, I read about the new owners (stated above). I don't think it's a done deal though, but appears close. Will be insane them bidding for everyone. Robinho is a HUGE statement of intent. I'm definately loving how competitive it's becoming in England though, going to be a tough tough league this year and moreso in a couple more seasons.

Looks like Ancelotti wants to make Ronaldinho the centrepiece of his team, so Kaka might be looking for a new home (Man City, Madrid or Chelsea) next season..........doubt City will be able to sign the likes of Ronaldo, Messi or Fabregas though. Though I'm sure there will be a few unhappy campers after this season (Malouda, Ballack, Mikel, Alex) coming out of Chelsea. Just too many stars there.
Speaking of Kaka he's supposed to be back for the next fixture for AC Milan. I think Milan are playing some sweet football right now. Lots of quick short passing, one twos, slashing runs onto the flanks, players making runs off one another. Defense just didn't have concentration. But Kaka should provide more support in attack being that Ronnie is now more or less the spark of the team that gets the engine going. I could see Kaka leaving sometime in the future but whomever gets him will have their life squeezed out of them basically being that Milan will ask for at least 60 million euros for him, and thats at LEAST.

Man City do mean business. They've made some big moves along with Tottenham. The EPL is becoming more competitive which is good. That way it won't be as predictable with everyone knowing whom the top 4 will be every season.

This transfer window has been a soap opera, mostly because of Real Madrid.

Before the Euros, they concentrated on getting Villa, putting up bids of 35 and 40 million that were rejected by both the club and player. Then they stop looking to plan for the future because for a while it did seem almost CERTAIN that they were going to get Cristiano Ronaldo after putting in a bid of 60 million(Rumors say it was 80, but Calderon said it was 60). Then they get Van Der Vaart REALLY CHEAP(I don't know how they pulled that one). There was heavy criticism on the organization mostly from the fans because Calderon promised them Kaka, Villa, and Ronaldo, so then before it all closes, Villa renews with Valencia and Real make a final push putting up 60 million euros for Villa, which of course was rejected. But its become nasty, with the new President of Valencia Soriano really getting into it with Mijatovic(Spelling) and Calderon over the issue, accusing them of threats and scare tactics to prize Villa away. If relations between the 2 clubs was ever bad, its worse now, just further villifying them more this off season.

This is Real Madrid's problem and 1 reason I don't think they'll win La Liga again. They don't plan for the future. Their philosophy is simply to sign super stars. You cannot win with too much talent on your team. You need BALANCE. They're struggling now(Though it is early), because they have not upgraded in necessary areas. Ever since the Galcticos era, they've become a club that is more like a political, celebrity show rather than a football club. They have not addressed any needs in defense nor have they injected any youth to the squad. The young players they do have, sit on the bench and see no time on the pitch. Rest assured that either next Summer or after the World Cup, they will try to get BOTH Ronaldo and Benzema, and they will make absolutely ZERO moves to upgrade their defense and central midfield.

World Cup qualifiers this week. Spain have it easy against Bosnia and Armenia. Brazil and Argentina have it tough but I'm pretty they'll qualify in the end.

What about England, MAXY??... Do you guys think you'll make this one?
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